Father, caregiver, storyteller, teeth-brushing inspector, school-on-time deliverer, comic in residence, Mario Kart Grand Master …
… but you don’t need to ask them, because I’ve done it for you.
They went with ‘watcher of too much football’ and ‘loudest trumper’?
Harsh. I don’t watch nearly enough football.
But what I do insist on watching is Manchester City games, albeit through flailing limbs as they climb all over me, whilst Janet, having earlier promised to entertain them for ninety minutes, naps in a pool of her own dribble on the sofa opposite.
It was also a prerequisite of having children that they too would support City. A contract they unwittingly signed at just twenty weeks old, via ultrasound, and that was later rubber-stamped by my purchasing of Man City bibs.
And yet, like many things since becoming a parent, my priorities have changed; expectations lessened; demands diminished.
Since becoming a parent I’ve decided they can support whomever they want. Well, within reason. Choose Man United and they’ll soon discover the reason they don’t have a middle name is so I can insert Judas at a later date, should it be necessary.
As it happens, Sonny has chosen to support Liverpool. Luca has gone with Wigan?
But I’ve not yet given up hope of them one day seeing the light. Whilst I won’t dictate their footballing allegiances, that’s not to say I can’t give them a subtle nudge in the right direction. To drip-feed their impressionable minds with all things sky blue. To preach the gospel according to Manuel Pellegrini.
And what better way to do that than a Manchester City Stadium and Club tour.
The tour last for seventy minutes and gives a brilliant insight into the workings and heritage of the club.
You begin in the club shop with a brief introduction, before being led through the main stadium entrance, through the poshest of corporate dining areas, and into the directors box; complete with heated leather seats. Oh, to be a director.
From here, you then venture deep beneath the ground and into the press room, where you can sit behind the press desk and imagine signing a multi-million pound contract, which admittedly, at forty-one, is becoming ever less likely to happen.
Then came the highlight for the boys. The players warm-up area where you can take a penalty to the backdrop of celebrating fans, the home changing room where you can sit in your favourite players chair, and through to the tunnel, where your walk to pitch side is wonderfully accompanied by the roar of 55,000 fans. Even as someone deeply cynical of the modern game, it’s still an emotional moment. Pathetically so.
Obviously I’m biased, but it is genuinely a magnificent stadium, especially when witnessed from the managers chair in the dugout.
The tour ends in a room full of memorabilia. Of trophies won and history made. Where the club is now, and where its ambitions lie.
And it was here that I was in my element, because while the boys marveled at the Premier League trophy from 2014, my happiest memories remain deeply rooted in periods past.
Memories of standing on the old Kippax, watching the mercurial Georgi Kinkladze brighten up the clubs darkest of days. Of beating Huddersfield 10-1. Of the shattered hopes of Paul Lake and the entertainment orchestrated by Brian Horton.
Our tour was guided by the wonderful Lynn, whose knowledge and passion for the club was palpable.
The price of the tour, whilst comparable with similar attractions, isn’t particularly cheap. £16 for adults, £10 for children. But for anyone interested in football, whether as a City fan or not, this is a tour I’d highly recommend.
I started supporting City at the same age as Luca is now, when a school friend gave me a Man City pencil case.
And the tour may just have given Luca his own pencil case moment. For him it was seeing Sergio Aguero’s golden boot?
As for Sonny, well, there’s no shame in being my second favourite son.
Our tour was provided free-of-charge for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.